October 24, 2019 / 12:59 AM / 8 months ago

Sterling pares losses after PM calls for election; stocks inch up

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The pound was weaker but pared losses against the dollar on Thursday in the wake of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for a Dec. 12 election to break the country’s deadlock over its planned exit from the European Union, while global stock markets edged up.

FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Johnson said in a letter to opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn he would give Parliament more time to approve his Brexit deal but that lawmakers must back a December election.

Sterling was last trading at $1.2848, down 0.53% on the day, well off its lows of the session.

EU member states on Wednesday delayed a decision on whether to grant Britain a three-month Brexit extension.

Stocks were flat to higher, with upbeat earnings from Microsoft here and Mercedes maker Daimler here offsetting disappointing results from Twitter and other companies.

“When earnings season began, the bar was set pretty low, and now a host of companies have reported and beaten expectations ... But I wouldn’t say we are completely out of the woods,” said Brian Yacktman, chief investment officer at YCG Fund in Austin, Texas.

The S&P 500 briefly moved lower after comments from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who accused China of curtailing “rights and liberties” in Hong Kong but also insisted that the United States does not seek confrontation or to “de-couple” from its main economic rival.

The latest estimate for third-quarter earnings for companies on the benchmark U.S. S&P 500 index improved slightly. Earnings are expected to have declined 2.3% year-over-year in the quarter versus an estimated decline of 2.9% on Wednesday, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Third-quarter earnings reports took center stage on Wall Street, with investors trying to gauge the fallout from a prolonged U.S.-China trade war, which has already shown up in the domestic economy.

Tesla here shares rallied, a day after the company reported an unexpected third-quarter profit.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 57.59 points, or 0.21%, to 26,776.36, the S&P 500 gained 2.2 points, or 0.07%, to 3,006.72 and the Nasdaq Composite added 51.21 points, or 0.63%, to 8,171.01.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.27%. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.59%.

German companies, including Daimler, helped to boost Europe’s indexes.

The euro was down 0.21% to $1.1106.

In commodities markets, U.S. crude rose 0.77% to $56.40 per barrel and Brent was last at $61.78, up 1% on the day.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 4/32 in price to yield 1.7467%, from 1.759% late on Wednesday.

Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London and Shreyashi Sanyal and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru and Sujata Rao; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Dan Grebler

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